Located between 53rd and 56th streets and Oak and 
Holmes streets, the Crestwood subdivision is an excellent example of the planned residential subdivisions developed by the J.C. Nichols Company. The firm’s pioneering role in developing a method of home-building and land subdivision shaped the form and character of suburban residential development in Kansas City and throughout the United States. 

Established in 1919, the Crestwood neighborhood reflects
the local and national preference for historic eclecticism in residential design in the post-World War I period. Control of design and utilization of architects in residential subdivisions, as well as the use of professional landscape architects in the planning of subdivisions were trend setting practices of the Nichols Company. 

Touted as a ‘garden home’ development, the plan for Crestwood was the result of several years of careful study and planning as part of the development of the Nichols Company’s Country Club District. Designed by the landscape architecture firm of Hare and Hare, the subdivision platting took advantage of the topography and featured paved curving drives, interior parks and picturesque entrances. 

A review of the occupations of the first homeowners revealed butchers, salesmen, teachers, small business owners, lawyers, physicians and owners of good sized manufacturing concerns. Their homes reflected a national preference for eclectic architectural designs, particularly the Colonial and Tudor Revival styles. The similarities in size, scale, massing and materials of the buildings and the rapid development of the subdivision between 1920 and 1926 resulted in a neighborhood with a high degree of visual consistency. These elements combined with the curving streets and other landscape features separate Crestwood from adjacent neighborhoods which have a grid street system and housing styles which vary from street to street and lot to lot.

Crestwood got its name because of its location on a thickly wooded plateau. Prior to J.C. Nichols acquiring the land after World War 1, the property had been in the Harrison Davis family since the mid-1800s. Captain William Davis built a mansion there in 1850 in a grove of MU trees. The family got water from a spring located in the area of today’s 55th and Locust where stone would later be quarried. Many of the Crestwood homes’ foundations were made from stone taken from that quarry.